The types are retirement, disability and survivors.
Retirement benefits are what typically come to mind when most people think of Social Security. Such benefits are available for people 62 or older who have worked at least 10 years. Your benefit amount will vary based on your pre-retirement salary as well as the age at which you begin collecting benefits. While it is not meant to be your only source of income, it can help you avoid debt during your retirement years. Additionally, your spouse or divorced spouse may be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits even if he or she has not paid into the program.
Disability benefits support people who cannot work because of disabilities. As with retirement benefits, you need to have worked a certain number of years to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The amount of work you need depends on your age, and your monthly benefit amount depends on your pre-disability salary. SSDI benefits may also be available for your spouse or divorced spouse.
Survivors benefits can help bridge financial gaps for survivors of workers and retirees. Eligible recipients typically include help for widows and widowers, divorced spouses and children. The 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) gave same-sex couples access to Social Security benefits.
The level of benefits depends on a number of factors, including the worker’s age at death, the worker’s salary, the survivors’ ages and the survivors’ relation to the deceased.
There also is a “death benefit” for survivors that is a one-time payment of $255 that goes to the spouse or children of a deceased worker.